This section is devoted to scholarly essays on illustration – including articles on individual illustrators, the history of illustration, and illustration collections and important movements in history.

The Expressive Face

How did artists like Norman Rockwell, Austin Briggs, Jon Whitcomb, and others create the believable unique faces that can tell a whole story by themselves? In a magazine cover, like those by Rockwell and Stevan Dohanos, the image, with its setting and, most of all, its characters, must convey an anecdote without any help from words. So each face must be carefully crafted to do its part in creating the drama⸺or comedy.

2020-08-19T14:34:07-04:00August 19th, 2020|Essays on Illustration|0 Comments

Al Parker: Illustrating the “Stopper”

In How I Make a Picture by Al Parker, he wrote about his creative process for magazine story assignments. The artist’s first step was to read the manuscript while keeping the target audience in mind. As characters entered into the tale, he jotted down their descriptions – hair color, eyes, age, type of clothing, disposition, etc. He also searched the narrative for a passage that would catch the reader’s attention; he termed this the “stopper”. Parker’s final tip on successful illustrations was understanding the mood of the piece. Is it romantic, humorous, suspenseful, or tragic?

2020-07-29T20:10:38-04:00July 29th, 2020|Essays on Illustration|0 Comments

Drawing as a way of seeing

If you want to observe an artist at work, a good place to start is with his or her sketchbooks. Here are ideas, techniques, observations, memories – all the underpinnings of the finished work. Often the contents are so free and spontaneous that they draw us in, wanting and needing nothing more than these simple lines on paper.

2020-07-14T14:35:42-04:00July 7th, 2020|Essays on Illustration|0 Comments

Harold Von Schmidt: Pictorial Structure through Research

This week’s subject allowed me to delve deeper into a recent acquisition by Harold von Schmidt, a student of the accomplished illustrator Harvey Dunn. Curious about the imprisoned man in “I have had the liberty of speaking through the hold of door to my wife and servants, his editorial read,” I performed a web search for the December 1934 issue of The Elks Magazine, to find out more. Luckily, the magazine was digitized.

2020-06-24T16:05:48-04:00June 24th, 2020|Essays on Illustration|Comments Off on Harold Von Schmidt: Pictorial Structure through Research

Al Dorne: A Richer Life Through Art

Though not well known to the public, Albert Dorne (1904-1965) was the highest paid illustrator of mid-twentieth century. He strongly supported the field of illustration by serving as the Society of Illustrators president and by co-founding the Code of Ethics and Fair Practices of the Profession of Commercial Art and Illustration. He mentored and helped other people achieve their dreams of becoming paid artists with the establishment of The Famous Artists School, a correspondence course for commercial art. Over the years, this savvy businessman earned the respect of his industry.

2020-06-11T16:14:51-04:00June 11th, 2020|Essays on Illustration|Comments Off on Al Dorne: A Richer Life Through Art

Stevan Dohanos: Capturing Beauty in the Commonplace

Collections Hunters: Uncovering the Museum’s Art and Archival Collections

A strong admirer of the artists Edward Hopper and Charles Burchfield, Stevan Dohanos created artwork reflecting the style of American Realism. His pictures are filled with common objects, preferably man-made, that are easily recognizable to people. This popular subject matter lead him to produce 123 covers for The Saturday Evening Post. Dohanos’s images captured the locations and trapping of the American dream, not those who populated it, the focus of Norman Rockwell’s work. He took inspiration from everyday scenes found around his home in Westport, Connecticut, offering only glimpses of its residents.

2020-05-27T15:06:10-04:00May 27th, 2020|Essays on Illustration|Comments Off on Stevan Dohanos: Capturing Beauty in the Commonplace

Camille Clifford: The ‘Gibson Girl’ Promise Fulfilled

Camille Clifford: The 'Gibson Girl' Promise Fulfilled by Skylar Smith, Fellow, Rockwell Center for American Visual Studies Rotary Photo, “Miss Camille Clifford,” London, UK. Charles Dana Gibson (1867-1944) was one of the most prominent American illustrators at the turn of the century.[1] Much of his success was due to his creation of the “Gibson Girl.”

2020-05-27T11:43:13-04:00September 10th, 2019|Essays on Illustration|0 Comments

Jean Cunningham – a Biography

Jean Cunningham - A Short Biography by Sarah Goethe-Jones, Fellow, Rockwell Center for American Visual Studies Jean Marie Ratley was born in Lumberton, North Carolina on February 7, 1931 to parents Eli Raeford Ratley and Minnie Harcum Ratley. Her brother Emmett was eighteen years her elder, and her younger sister, Joyce

2020-05-28T11:04:06-04:00December 4th, 2018|Essays on Illustration|0 Comments

Making Meaning of Illustration

Making Meaning of Illustration By Michele Bogart, Ph.D. American illustration is an exciting and popular field with tremendous cultural significance, yet paradoxically, one with an image problem. “Illustration,” defined broadly, lacks the centrality and heuristic coherence that the related field of fine art painting has. Partly because

2020-08-03T09:35:37-04:00October 8th, 2018|Essays on Illustration|0 Comments

Thoughts on Illustration from the Rockwell Center Society of Fellows

Thoughts on Illustration from the Rockwell Center Society of Fellows A Blog Series Introduction Featured weekly in this month, a series of blog posts by Rockwell Center Society of Fellows scholars offer insights into illustration from vantage points meaningful within the diverse scope of their academic interests. Rockwell Society of

2020-05-28T11:34:37-04:00October 1st, 2018|Essays on Illustration|0 Comments

Norman Rockwell Museum



Norman Rockwell Museum is Open 7 days a week year-round

May – October and holidays:

open daily: 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Thursdays: 10 a.m. - 7 p.m. (July/August 2015)
Rockwell’s Studio open May through October.

November – April: open daily:

Weekdays: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Weekends and holidays: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Holiday Closings:

The Museum is Closed Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day and New Year’s Day





Members: FREE
Adults: $18.00
Seniors (65+): $17.00
College students with ID: $10.00
Children/teens 6 — 18: $6.00
Children 5 and under: FREE

Official Museum Website





Norman Rockwell Museum
9 Route 183
Stockbridge, MA 01262

413-298-4100 x 221

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